Find Stock Photography You Won't Hate
I'm not a photographer, and I don't have much desire to be. Since starting this business I've improved on my basic photography skills and paid more attention to framing than ever before, but it's just not a skill I am motivated to invest much time or money in. Yet the images we use in our blogs are a big aspect of our personal brand because photos often say more than our words ever could. So, what to do? Fortunately, there is a wonderful option available to photography noobs like me: free stock photos.
Free online stock photo libraries are available so you can just pop in your keyword and find a variety of images to choose from. For example, to find images aligned with my own Instagram theme I could search "Macbook Air", "desktop" or "ocean" and immediately download a relevant image and have it uploaded as my blog cover image within minutes. While some photographs may have been created with no profit in mind, websites can still generate profits for their photographers through ad sales. So make sure your Ad Blocker is off when using this option to help give the creative maximum profit from their image, without costing yourself a dime!
I prefer to use free stock photos over the more pricey options of paid stock photography, simply because it's rare to find an image I consider valuable enough to invest in at this early stage of business. If I'm paying for an image, I usually prefer to own the rights to the image as well. This doesn't make paid photography you can download any less valuable or worthwhile if you find a photographer that fits your personal brand, and Kasia does cute stuff at Made By Kasia. I personally have used a paid stock photographer for my blog and social media images, and I will delve more into this option in blog posts to come.
However, if you're taking the free route keep in mind that some websites are much better than others, and some again are more suited for the use as a blog cover image than others. I've weeded through some of the websites available and handpicked some of the sites I believe offer both classy and relevant stock photography for a small business or blog. I've rounded up the links to photos that don't suck, to save you the time flipping through photos I know you'd hate.
My top five free stock photography websites, in no particular order:
860,000 free images with full rights released so you can download, alter and use the images as you wish. This website offers some great basic photographs if you want a cover image to match your blog topic, and is probably the easiest to navigate website of them all.
If you head to the technology section, there are a lot of relevant images to be used as blog cover images. You are able to use these images for free, you just aren't able to re-sell them. The website makes searching nice and easy.
This website is huge and full of lots of choices. All are free and it's easy to navigate, just remember that everyone else is also using the same website.
This website is fun and unique. The search function isn't great so it can be difficult to sort through the images for what you want, but if you're lucky and do find the perfect image it's high-quality and completely free.
Stocksnap has a pretty great range of stock photos and a great ability to search the website. They list free photos they've found from other free resources. Type in Macbook Air and you have plenty to choose from! All photos on the website are totally free and you can do with them what you wish.
The above list is far from exhaustive, but they are my personal faves. Do you think I'm missing any sites that I'll love, or do you offer stock photography for creative types? Please, leave a comment below! This list is constantly shifting and changing and I'm open to exploring your choices.